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tv   Political Capital With Al Hunt  Bloomberg  January 25, 2014 1:30pm-2:01pm EST

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>> this week on "political capital," we preview president obama's state of the union address. more about conflicts in syria and iran. and the debate with chris christie. we begin the program with former senate majority leader tom daschle. thank you for being your. obama with relatively low ratings.
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he gives the state of the union next what does he have to do to tuesday. turn things around? >> he has to show energy. he has to show passion for the things he wants to do in the second term. there is a feeling of lethargy. he has had some setbacks. he needs to reengage and re- energize. i think he will do that. >> the focus, we are told, will be on income inequality, which is very real. the critics say that it is divisive and that obama offers no solutions. >> whether he offer solutions or not, you cannot ignore it. there are too many studies about it. there's been a lot of attention . i think it would be bad to ignore it. >> it is not a political loser for him? >> we have to address it. we have got conservatives and liberals talking about it. they have different ways of addressing it. but clearly, there is a universal recognition. >> could there be a consensus? >> i think there is always a
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chance. that is always the question. how much can he find the common ground? >> let me get the common ground, in just a moment. first, let me ask about health care. it got off to a bad start. do you think it is over its worst troubles? do you think were going to have anywhere close to 7 million people sign up why late spring. will health care premiums soar? >> we have surpassed 7 million, we have surpassed if you think 11 million, about three categories. you have all of that. will there be more glitches? of course. this is not easy. we are creating a whole new paradigm of health in this country. that is a challenge. i think he has gone through the toughest part. obviously, the rollout was a disaster. everybody recognizes that. the bottom line is things are going much better. premiums, i think, all being considered, i think will be
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stable, maybe even down from what they were in the past. the reason why, of course, is because we are reducing cost. we have the lowest cost growth in over 30 years. that is amazing. a lot of it has to do with aca and the number of actions that the administration is taking outside of the aca to control costs. >> you and trent lott wrote an op ed, saying that both sides have taken too unyielding positions. where have the democrats been culpable? >> the most consequential is the opportunity that republicans would like to have to offer amendments. we all do that, as majority leader. i did it. there is a tendency to want to direct the debate and keep the debate as contained as you can. the minority needs to have the
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opportunity to offer amendments. >> harry reid to start yielding on that? >> i don't know if i would say yield. but cooperate. it would make a big difference. >> you also say there ought to be periodic sessions between republicans and democrats, like there used to be. you called for quarterly sessions at camp david. president obama, unlike other presidents, has rarely used the presidential retreat to talk to lawmakers and others. has this been a mistake in and is there any chance he will change? >> i think the president has always felt that there has to be cooperation on both sides. he does not feel like there's been adequate cooperation. my feeling is you cannot give up. you've got to keep frying. you've got to find ways to go outside of the normal venues. break out of those venues. find ways to personalize the relationship more than you have. i think that would serve him well going forward. >> will he use camp david?
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>> i am reluctant to think he will. it is not his nature. has used his son. not as much as i would like to see. >> former defense secretary bob gates suggested the obama white house is the most insular since the nixon white house. is that a fair assessment? >> i cannot speak historically. i would doubt that it is the most insular. we have gone through some insular times. too insular, yes. i have not made it any secret that i think the more engaged, the more creatively involved they are, that the members of congress, the members of the media, and members of all stripes in washington, serves them well. you have got to being gauged. you have got to be engaged. the more you are engaged, the more likely you will have the relationship that you will need to move legislation. >> do you see any encouraging signs that this is changing? >> i have to say the chief of staff who used to work with me is phenomenal.
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he is on the hill a lot. he gets great remarks from members of both parties. i think he has done what i would like to see more of. >> let me ask you, as a political analyst, how much do you think chris christie's aspirations have been hurt by his controversy? >> i think it is unfortunate. i think it has been substantial. i do not think it is irreparable , but it is going to be tough. he has a lot of work to do to repair it. it is possible to restore it but always difficult. >> there are several major stories this weekend about the clinton political colossus. that would be hillary. is there a danger that it is too washington heavy. too we are going to corner, rather than capture the nomination, assuming that she runs?
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>> so much of what has happened has been outside of their immediate realm. it has all been done, ostensibly, without her consent or opposition. i do think there is that danger. we have a long way to go. we still have another midterm election. you have to be a little concerned about the level of visibility and perception that you are trying to lock out others who might otherwise participate. there is a danger in that. >> most people think she is likely to run. what steps should she taken this -- take in this very long process to alleviate some of the concerns and get herself in a good position? >> i don't know that she needs any advice for me. i think probably the most important thing is for her to be seen as a normal human being for a while. you do not have to be seen on the stage or in official capacities all the time.
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writing a book is a good thing. maybe getting involved in other efforts the clinton global , initiative that would be a good thing. the less political she looks today, the more politically advantaged she is. >> you don't have any doubt that she will run, do you? >> no. i don't know when the last time was that someone was able to get this kind of support is early for an open seat. most open seats are very competitive. you have followed it, as i have. this is really remarkable. it is historic. >> tom daschle, thank you for being with us. when we return more on what to , expect in the state of the union. ♪
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>> welcome back. with me now is tom davis. thank you for being with us. obama with comparatively low approval ratings gives the state of the union. what does he have to do to turn it around? >> he has to stay on a positive note. he has to avoid divisive issues. half of the country likes him.
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have of the country does not like him at all. he has to try to put a unity theme out. i think he can talk about the budget. i think he can talk about a lot of things. i don't think inequality works for him. i do not think it is a winner for the democrats. it is for the progressive group. you could see in the presidential race last time, romney did a couple points better in some areas. over the long term, the inroads they have made in wealthy suburbs are going to dissipate on them. >> what should be the tone of the republican response? >> it should be respectful. you should draw the line on where you're going to work with the president. call attention to the issues. foreign policy. obamacare, in terms of how is this working. that is the whole area of the -- narrative for the campaign. talk about the budget. i think that is a republican
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unifying theme. >> how do you think the november elections are going to shake out? >> it is a year away. >> as of now what does it look like to you? >> historically, the out party picks up seats in the house and the senate. if you look at the last generation, the out party picked up six senate seats. reasons for that, you get the six-year itch on a president. the second is these members got swept in in 2008 on obama's coat tails. now they are sitting by themselves. you have seven seats in districts that romney carried that will be up. >> if you come close to taking the senate and add to the majority, isn't the message going to be the those tea party conservatives, they're going to be emboldened, and rather than change or moderate, they will say let's double down? >> they are seeing that -- saying that now.
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you can see the fiasco when they shut the government down. then you get the republican cycle. even if the publicans pick up the senate, two years from now it will be jeopardized. >> what do the republicans have to do to be more competitive on the presidential level? what changes would you like to see? >> you have 18 states plus the district of columbia. 240 electoral votes voted democrat. that is six straight times. you got to bring that up. >> how do you do that? what changes have to be made? that is what you have to do, but how do you do it? how does the substance, how does the tone, how does the message ve to be different? >> the 2012 election was a repeat of 2008. it was a couple point swing. there was parliamentary voting behavior.
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they have to see, what part of the democratic coalition company picked off. young people come to mind. people talk about hispanics, at least, improving your standing with them. you have to look at young voters. >> immigration? >> the house needs to pass something. you do not have to get a bill out. you have to show some progress, absolutely. >> let me ask you to put on that superb analyst cap. how have chris christie's chances been harmed? >> i think they are hurt. his numbers are down. his whole appeal is, i am the winner. he is never going to be the darling of the party again. they can make a contract with him. you can win and help advance the agenda. it is all based on the fact that he can win in a blue state. when his numbers go down, and if he turns upside down, downstate, -- in his own state that takes , the heat off of him, and he
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becomes more vulnerable. then you have people that cannot do anything now. they are locked in a reelection battle. winning in ohio can move them forward. >> >> there is the non-right wing of the party. is the alternative jeb bush? who else? >> kasich in ohio. scott walker, if he can win reelection, he is in a swing state. jeb bush is strong not because he is a bush, but for other reasons. he was a good governor from a swing state with an outstanding record. >> what about some of the other formidable candidates? >> you have a lot of pretenders. is an optimist could he can sell. it depends who can consolidate early on. there are a lot of contenders. ted cruz.
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it would be hard to squeeze any daylight between yourself and him. he is very conservative. if he gets in he is an instant , darling. and you have rand paul. he is in the conservative strain. but a little more independent. >> let me ask you about bob mcdonnell and his wife, in your own state. without judging their guilt or innocence are there any lessons , that we can take from this tragedy? >> i think so. i think -- look, in virginia, as in anything, you can take anything. people need to understand, this appeared way out of bounds. but in virginia lost, you can law, takingginia gifts is legal to any amount. the question was, was there a quid pro quo, which is hard to prove? we have not had boundaries because it has not been abused. i don't know this is been enforced in the last 30 years. in terms of people not filing appropriately. there is
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certainly a case for strengthening the law. i think for elected officials at large, i think it is a warning shot at this point. you are in office. if you want to make money, leave office. you have hot button issues that have polarized the state for a long time that are still there. what you need to do is find out where he can no long with the republican legislator. in terms of some of his cabinet picks, he has done a good job. >> when we come back, chris christie. ♪
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>> welcome back. we will go to margaret carlson in a moment. first, our reporter has the latest on the conflict in syria and iran's nuclear negotiations. the syrian peace conference it , is hard to imagine getting off to a worse start. is there any prospect of success? >> this is a conference that was doomed before it began. remember the geneva one conference happened a year ago. they were trying to get both sides to the table. it has taken more than nine months for john kerry and his russian counterpart. at this point, what they euphemistically call, in
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divorce proceedings reconcilable , differences. >> assad will stay? >> i think that is what is going to happen. the two sides can't even agree on what the goal is. whether it is to get rid of him or fight terrorists. >> the iranians are the bad guys. majorey are assad's allies. to excludee sense them from the conference? >> this is how the week started out with a bizarre surprise invitation, which was then rescinded the next day because iran did not agree to the precondition about creating a transition government. they are out of it. you saw the iranian president this week talking about how we believe there should be free elections decided by the syrian people. there was a very angry response. that was from the syrian opposition.
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they were saying, where does he think these elections will take lace? in the refugee camps, or in the graveyards of the people who died, more than 130,000? >> the conclave love iranian moderates, don't they? the speech went over well. are we going to see an outpouring of business knocking on his door? >> you are right his speech did get a lot of attention. there were some surprising quarters. in gushingabout him terms about turning a new page in iranian and u.s. relations. the whole idea of business flocking to iran is exaggerated. there are still sanctions. that is not going to happen until those go. >> right now the clock is taking on the nuclear deal. what we look for, quickly? >> the next six months will be very intense. the opportunity to try to negotiate a final solution to the iranian nuclear problem.
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the idea of a permanent deal to prevent them from having a nuclear weapon and lifting also tensions is going to be a hard road. it is going to be hard to get a final deal. >> thank you. chris christie, the controversy deepened this week. charges from the hoboken mayor of the quid pro quo from a christie lieutenant. the attorney subpoenaing records. a criminaloming issue? >> we have federal authorities looking into it now. it is not going to be a she said, they said, that being christie's staff. they will be able to know whether these meetings occurred where she said she was threatened with not getting sandy funds unless she went for a questionable real estate deal. real estate in new jersey is important. >> it is a big deal. >> it is a big deal. it will be sorted out. i think a version of it certainly did happen.
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it is consistent with his behavior. >> how serious is this? >> this will all get sorted out, but the reality is that this is an opportunity for chris christie's political opponents to bring up crazy accusations. i think the reality is that chris christie has been pretty clear about what his involvement was and was not in the whole thing. the investigation will sort itself out. this is more of a witch hunt from chris christie's opponents than anything else. >> even if that is the case, and even if it is benign, it is creating such a fuss. should he, for the sake of the party, resign as the head of the rga? >> i do not think so. the rga is a fundraising organization. the republican party has no better fundraiser than chris christie. if you look at the gathering of donors that he put together in florida not too long ago, there
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is a lot of support in the donor community for chris christie. for them to say chris christie should step aside is the idea of, no good deed goes unpunished. they raised about $8 million. for his losing rapes. -- they raised about $8 million for his losing race. >> the main job is fundraising if you are the chair. then you want no distractions. you want clean fundraising. just this week, the big wall street financier said chris christie needs a better team around him. we don't need these kinds of mistakes being made. senator lindsey graham said please don't come to south carolina. it is too much of a distraction. i leave it to those republicans to decide whether this is a positive or negative on the fundraising. >> he certainly hasn't hurt by -- he clearly has been hurt by this. tom davis was on this program.
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it remains to be seen. it will be fun to watch. thank you. thank you all. we will see you again this week. ♪ >> "political capital" is a production of bloomberg television. ♪
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